How to Do Science Experiments With Bubbles

By Joan Russell

Blowing bubbles from soap suds teaches children some basic science facts. In the first experiment, you will learn how to make your own bubble blower from different common household objects. You will learn how to mix a bubble solution that works. The children will blow bubbles, observing them for shape and color. The science of bubbles, color and shape will be studied and explained. In the second experiment, you will use vinegar and a baking soda solution to blow bubbles into a bowl, creating a floating bubbles above the bowl. The principle of why they float will be demonstrated and explained in this experiment.

How to Do Science Experiments With Bubbles

Make your own bubble blower using a coat hanger. Untwist the wire hanger at the top, near the bend. Wrap a piece of the wire hanger around a glass jar or can to make a loop. Do this on a flat surface, on newspaper. Be sure to wrap some wire around the loop to close it securely. You should leave 6 to 8 inches of wire for the handle of the wand. Bend the rest of the wire hanger back and forth until it breaks. Throw the rest of the wire hanger away or save for another project. If you don't want to make one out of a hanger, you can make a bubble blower from a plastic or paper drinking cup by cutting out the bottom. Plastic drinking straws or funnels also make good bubble blowers. Finally, you can buy nifty bubble blowers at most department stores, if you don't want to make one.

Create a bubble solution. Put one gallon of water in the sink or a plastic basin for washing dishes. Add 2/3 cup of dishwashing detergent and 2 or 3 tablespoons of glycerin or corn syrup to the solution. Mix well with your hands or a plastic spoon. You can also store the solution in a gallon water bottle overnight to use again. Try different dishwashing liquids to see which one works best. When blowing bubbles using your bubble wand, notice the shape of the bubbles. They are always round because they need to minimize the surface needed to enclose a certain volume of water and soap. No matter what shape your wand is, they will turn out round. Bubbles burst quickly, but adding glycerin or cornstarch extends their life, because the chemical reaction with water delays the evaporation of the bubbles.

Have the children observe the colors in the bubbles. You can have them write down their observations on paper. The colors are caused by the reflection of light waves off the inner and outer surface of the bubble. Have a color wheel on the table, and have the children pick out the different colors they observe in the bubbles. Have the children draw or paint the colors in the bubbles they saw using crayons or watercolors on white paper.

Use baking soda and vinegar to make soap bubbles that float in midair. You will need a large clean metal or plastic bowl, 3/4 cup vinegar and a straw or bubble blower. Using a measuring cup, measure the baking soda into the bowl then slowly add the vinegar. It will fizz and bubble. Now have the kids blow bubbles through the straw or wand into the fizzing mixture. The bubbles should float above the mixture rather than falling and bursting.

Baking soda and vinegar create a chemical reaction. They form a gas called carbon dioxide that is heavier than air. Because the bubbles are filled with air, they float on the carbon dioxide gas made by the vinegar and baking soda reacting to each other. The bubbles float above the vinegar and baking soda mixture. After the experiment, you can have each child discuss personal observations and what they learned.

About the Author

Joan Russell has been a freelance writer for many years. She writes on variety of topics, including food, health, gardening, travel and education. She's written for the Christian Science Monitor, IGA Grocergram, Home Cooking, Atlantic Publishing and Duclinea Media. She has a B.A. in journalism/communications from the University of Bridgeport and an A.S in food service management from Naugatuck Valley Technical Community College.